A year passed, as years do. With the anniversary of her adoption approaching, I realised that I had to take her back to the vet—and that I needed to give her a name. Up until then, I had only ever called her "Cat" (or "the Cat", depending on the context!) A few times I alternated with "Puss"—and yes, once or twice I'd called her "Tiger" out of habit. But she had been nameless for that whole year. She didn't seem bothered by this state of affairs.
However, both realisations were triggered when I received a friendly reminder card from my vet, saying that "Stray Cat" was due to receive her annual vaccinations. Hmm. She didn't much seem to care what I called her, and I was happy with "Cat", but we needed a name for her Veterinary records, if nothing else. (Besides, I may be the kind of heartless monster who couldn't be bothered to name their cat, but I didn't want the vet to think that!) So, in need of a name, and not being good with names myself, I did the only sane thing: I asked my Mum!
Mum said "Misty", so Misty it is!
She hated the trip to the vet. In fact, it soon became clear that she really hated being in the car—at least when it was moving! She would cry pitifully for the entire short trip to the vet (and back!)
Of course, I went right back to calling her "Cat". Provided I kept her fed, and allowed her to drool in my beard, she didn't seem to mind what I called her. In fact, since she never responded to being called anyway, it barely mattered what I called her...
Oddly, while she never responded to being called, she would always come running to a click of the fingers.
The year she was named was 2002: the year Dad died, and the year I made my first attempt at writing a novel for NaNoWriMo (see My Writing History for all the gruesome details.) By that time, she was well and truly a part of my life; she even had a starring role in the first chapter of that first novel-attempt.
The years rolled on (as they do) and I grew older (as noted earlier, she apparently did not!) During that time she remained remarkably healthy, so while I may not always have been the most attentive of staff ("Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.") I was apparently doing something right. And when I wasn't doing okay, she let me know: at one point I was apparently not giving her enough attention, so she made it a point to quite deliberately jump up on my bed, and pee on me. Twice! (Because I didn't figure out the problem the first time!)
Apart from the occasional neglect, and the occasional pee-attack, things went pretty smoothly.
The biggest problem was the other cats in the neighbourhood. They could get into the house through all the same pathways Misty used—and any time I forgot to close the door between house and garage, I could almost count on having another furry visitor, usually slipping in to raid her food bowls or mark their territory. I tried to keep them out while allowing her her freedom, by replacing the cat-flap in the door with a more expensive one that was lockable one-way or both ways, so that she could at least go out while the other cats couldn't come in. Which sounded good in theory; in practice, she was apparently the only cat in the neighbourhood who flat-out refused to push her way through a cat flap!
The most memorable intrusion we had came on one of the rare nights that the cat actually slept in my room. Those nights became more frequent as she became older. Of course, she never gave up the need to wake up in the night and drool in my ear, or on my face, so such nights generally didn't allow me much sleep, but they kept her happy.
This particular night she was snuggled into my armpit; a few minutes of high-quality drooling onto my shirt had worn her out, and she was fast asleep. I was asleep too—no doubt exhausted from waiting for her to go to sleep! And the other cat wandered into the house through the door I'd forgotten to close; it probably went and finished off her fish first, and then it came wandering into the bedroom and ... well, I guess it did the feline equivalent of inflating a brown paper bag and popping it behind Misty's head. She yowled and scrambled, the other cat yowled and scarpered, and I awoke to a whole lot of yowling, and Misty, claws fully extended in her fright, standing on my face!